With the ‘Milk Wars’ crossover finally in the dust, DC Comics is revising the Young Animal line featuring familiar comic books with new names. Caver Carson is joining in on the fun with a brand new name for his title dubbed “Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye.” Will the title take on a new direction or focal point due to the name change? Will the comic be able to gain a sense of focus and pacing that was lost towards the end of the initial volume?
Written by Jon Rivera
Illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming and Paul Maybury
Colored by Nick Filardi
After a year of multiverse-hopping and fighting in the Milk Wars, returning to a normal life of digging and cave-diving just isn’t the same for explorer Cave Carson. Sure, he’s got his podcast, family and that cybernetic eye, but reminiscing about times gone by isn’t the same as living. Luckily for Cave Carson and his daughter Chloe, they’re about to get sucked into an all-new adventure—literally—when they go spelunking in a black hole! But what’s caused this black hole to appears and what’s its connection to the intergalactic music sensation Star Adam?
While the style, tone, and artwork of the initial Cave Carson ongoing struck me as something special, the series’ frenetic tone did not let up and instead of catching my attention, the unrelenting narrative forgot some of the small moments, causing the tension of the story to slowly deflate. Thankfully, the focus seems to back in the small, character-driven moments in “Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye” #1. The issue is almost a perfect one-shot, diving deep into the characterization of Cave and Chloe.
The title utilizes rock god, Star Adam, to flesh out some of the world and the background with the character. In the little screen time Adam gets, he establishes a beautiful relationship with Chloe. For some reason, this story makes the interactions with each character feel incredibly meaningful and every page of the chapter has something to say about Adam and the deep characterization between himself and the other core cast members.
The issue is loaded with one of the strongest scripts writer Jon Rivera has crafted. But the beautiful nature of opening pages from artist Michael Avon Oeming show off a creator perfect for the direction of the story. The issue has one of the most memorable, awe-inspiring opening sequences of a Young Animal book. Oeming’s art was already wonderfully dynamic and inventive, but his output on this comic has been a career-defining shift for the artist who has been bound by other genres such as linear crime dramas.
Oeming shows so much emotion and unique ideas in the chapter. The flashback sequence takes a couple panels and shows a couple ways the art starts to shift in tone. The next page, Oeming utilizes a wonderful sense of scale. The artist packs each page with an assortment of ideas fueled by the madness of Rivera’s script perfectly showing two creators able to deliver challenging and wonderful work.
The difficulty of the work, and the way to accurately judge the piece as a whole, is to decipher how concise the storytelling is with the wild sense of ambition. I’m happy to report the narrative is not difficult to follow even though each and every page brings unique idea stretching the comics medium. This installment utilizes a psychedelic drug trip as an essential plot device. Deciphering the moments where the characters are on drugs and the sequences such as flashbacks are clear from unique visual motifs like swirls or different colors or symbols introduced in the issue.
“Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye” #1 is a rare comic containing a beginning, middle, and end with the promise of more stories with this character to come. With a more focused and succinct vision of the plot, Jon Rivera starts to deliver and does not commit the same sins of story structure as he has in the past couple issues. While the plot is wild and wacky, there is also a strong emotional element making the issue feel like more than an inconsequential romp through the wacky side of the DC Universe.
Rivera plays into Cave Carson’s tenure on the Challengers in a fascinating manner with the backup featuring his writing duties as well as Paul Maybury’s art. Carson’s past is interesting even though the story only dives into his life at the surface level. Maybury’s art is a perfect fit for the more laidback story in the tale as well.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – With the most focused and concise issue to date, “Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye” #1 has reached an unprecedented level of quality.